VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis on Sunday urged people to talk to each other at mealtimes instead of using their mobile phones, citing Jesus, Mary and Joseph as an example for families to follow.
They "prayed, worked and communicated with each other," the pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square during his weekly Angelus address.
"I ask myself if you, in your family, know how to communicate or are you like those kids at mealtables where everyone is chatting on their mobile phone ... where there is silence like at a Mass but they don't communicate," the pope said.
"We have to get back to communicating in our families," Francis said in his unscripted remarks. "Fathers, parents, children, grandparents, brothers and sisters, this is a task to undertake today, on the day of the Holy Family."
During his Christmas message, the pope also encouraged communication with God, and urged the faithful not to let the Church's failings lead them away from accepting God's love.
Let us contemplate the Child and let ourselves be caught up in his tender love. Then we have no further excuse for not letting ourselves be loved by him," Francis said.
"Whatever goes wrong in our lives, whatever doesn't work in the Church, whatever problems there are in the world, will no longer serve as an excuse. It will become secondary, for faced with Jesus' extravagant love, a love of utter meekness and closeness, we have no excuse," he said.